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DIY Cement Mixer, plans, questions, help.  RSS feed

 
Posts: 11
Location: Montana, USA
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Hi all,

I recently began working on building a homemade cement mixer based on original instructions from an article of Mother Earth News from 1980. The design uses galvanized steel pipe and the recycled basin of an old washing machine to make a "cheap" mixer. The republished online article is somewhat vague, so I found a couple more sites that fleshed the design out a bit more and included pictures. All links below....

https://www.motherearthnews.com/diy/homemade-cement-mixer-zmaz80sozraw
https://www.google.com/amp/s/m.wikihow.com/Make-a-Cement-Mixer%3famp=1
https://www.google.com/amp/s/homequicks.com/homemade-cement-mixer.amp

The problem that I'm personally having with all three sources (I can't find anything else online from other people who have made them) is that they all talk about putting the wash basin on a "shaft", but they do not say what the shaft is not is it included in a parts list. The third link, from homequicks, gives a parts list and calls for this shaft to be attached to the pipe "nipple" on the front of the frame, but won't say what that shaft is.

The actual drive shaft of the washing machine, from what I can see, would never connect to this threaded piping nipple. I have no clue what to use to complete this project that I've already sunk around $100 in. Customer service for Mother Earth News says all the staff from 1980 have retired and that nobody left is familiar with the design. Has anyone built this? Anyone have ideas?

Pics attached showing the incomplete form as I have it now.
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20180722_094544.jpg
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gardener
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Location: Middle Tennessee
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While I haven't built one, I've recently rented and used the one in the image below a couple times. I like your design, and I suspect that this "shaft" might be something like the little bar with the two rollers on it in the picture below. Concrete weighs about 150lbs per cubic foot, and with that sort of weight in a washing machine tub, it'll likely need some support on rollers up by the front of the tub. It looks to me like the shaft below the tub in the 2nd and 3rd links you provided is meant to contact the ground and bear the weight of the entire machine with wet mud in it upon dumping, and allowing the tub to keep rotating to aid in pouring out the wet concrete.

 
pollinator
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Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
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This diagram shows a 1" x 12" peice of ridged pipe,with a coupling on one end, a cap on the other,and a 10" peice of 1.25" EMT(thin walled electrical) tubing slid over it,as a bearing or spacer.

The frame you have now also needs a short(2") peice of threaded pipe added to the front of the 1" cross fitting, so the coupling mentioned above can thread onto it.
Also important, the design calls for a 1" corner cross at the place where you have a 1" tee.
This is where a 1"x 12" ridged pipe threads in.
It looks like this supports the drum from the outside.

065-cement-mixer-diagram.jpg
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Diagram
 
pollinator
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I am late to the party as always, but Harbor Freight sells an off-the-shelf cement mixer for $179 that works really well.

Mine is an OLD Craftsman, but it has done wonders for me, so whether you decide to continue to build, or go for the $179 Harbor Freight one, I can say that they are well worth it. I use mine for mixing everything from potting soil for the wifes spring plants, to mixing paint, polishing parts, polishing rocks, derusting steel, and once and awhile...even mixing cement up!
 
Posts: 36
Location: northern New Mexico
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Howdy.
I'm ready after 45 years to get a new cement mixer. I've rebuilt our antique mixer once twenty years ago. The part that fails leaving the mixer barely functional is is the main shaft bushing. This is because with the standard design of mixers the shaft has all the weight of the load spinning on that bushing. I understand that getting your DIY mixer to last decades may not be a priority, but I would be remiss not to mention is that main shaft is the weak link in the system. Many of the new mixers use a HDPE barrel, which I have no issue with after moving our heavy steel cement mixer around here on the homestead for decades.  What I really do like and wish manufacturers would add are those guide wheels shown in  @James Freyr's post.
Here is an excerpt from my morning newsletter yesterday where I am contemplating the pros and cons of a new mixer.
I need one that is gasoline powered so we can use it on these remote sites. I leaned two things pretty quick: 1> there is a new style of cement mixer out now called a Wheelbarrow style mixer. No wheelbarrow is used. In fact they won't dump high enough for a wheelbarrow. 2> Gas engine powered cement mixers are not popular and of the two I've been looking at both look like retrofits from electric driven models!
I like this one pretty well, however I believe the reviewers when they say this is pretty wimpy design and the no dumping issue is a pain.
Attachment:
July-2018-wish-list-wheelbarrow-style-gas-powered-cement-mixer.png


Not to mention pricey and the $140 shipping. It is an American company if that's worth anything anymore.
Also we're going to be finishing the exterior of our house and if I can use this to make stucco and figure out how to dump it in buckets it should be adequate for that.
July-2018-wish-list-wheelbarrow-style-gas-powered-cement-mixer.png
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Jared Binitial
Posts: 11
Location: Montana, USA
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Thanks for the replies all!

@James: that looks like a neat design on your mixer there, but I'm not sure how I would replicate it on mine. Nothing that I see in the plans and finished product seem to resemble that bar with rollers. As for the bar sticking out of the front, good thinking! I had no idea what the point of it was, and wasn't able to find the necessary joint at my store anyways, so I left it off. Would probably make pouring much easier!

@William: thanks for the added diagram and input! It may be hard to see, but the front of my frame actually already has the threaded 2" "nipple" attached to it. I'm still not entirely sure what it attaches to, the 12" pipe section? The threading would require a coupling between them as well, and 12" is much too short to even fit through the basin I believe. The hole in the top of the agitator cone inside the basin won't even allow a pipe of this diameter through. Was the 12"pipe what you meant for the shaft?
 
Jared Binitial
Posts: 11
Location: Montana, USA
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@Travis: $179 brand new isn't too bad! I have a tough time trusting a lot of HF stuff to be lasting quality, but if it has your endorsement then maybe it would have been a better option. However, since I've already sunk a bunch of money into what is currently a useless frame, I think I'll try a bit longer at seeing it successful.

@Brian: That's all great general mixer info. Any ideas about my situation and how to get this design working? I'd really like an idea of what the original builders and writers of these plans intended as the washing basin shaft.
 
gardener
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If the $100 in "useless" parts haven't been damaged, could they be returned?  My hardware store would take those pipe fittings back in a heartbeat if they look unused.
 
Posts: 484
Location: Bendigo , Australia
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I think it was as follows;
-Into the cross fitting you screw a 1x12 inch length of pipe, threaded at both ends.
- the drum [which must have a hollow shaft attached in the centre of the base], as part of its function as a dryer, forms the bowl
- That hollow shaft is dropped over the 1 x 12" pipe with electrical conduit used as an internal 'packer/ sleeve'
- a cap is fitted to the end of the 1 x 12" pipe which holds everything together

 
Jared Binitial
Posts: 11
Location: Montana, USA
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Hey John,

Yes, that's pretty much it! I figured it out a few days ago and have the whole setup almost painted and ready to go! I'll post pics and maybe a short review soon!
 
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